Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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blurbz
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:30 pm

Chupavida wrote:I have a huge rant typed up about OCS, but I'll save it for a more productive setting, like a meeting with a dean.

Suffice it to say that OCS could be replaced by a poorly-organized phonebook, a part time employee who gives generic career/resume advice, and a temp secretary who organizes OCI once a year, and nobody would notice.

An unmanned terminal with the homepage set to TLS would do more good.


I'd love to see it. I know a few people who are considering having sit-downs with Smith about OCS---I'm just glad that it seems like almost all of us Illinois TLSers have what it takes to get a job without OCS's help!

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:35 pm

Chupavida wrote:I have a huge rant typed up about OCS, but I'll save it for a more productive setting, like a meeting with a dean.

Suffice it to say that OCS could be replaced by a poorly-organized phonebook, a part time employee who gives generic career/resume advice, and a temp secretary who organizes OCI once a year, and nobody would notice.

An unmanned terminal with the homepage set to TLS would do more good.



Wow, ok, so if it's THAT bad... and everyone knows that the ultimate "goal" of law school is to procure a good job practicing law, then how exactly is UIUC "ranked" so much better than all but 20 of the Law schools in the country? I know one example (Saint Louis U) that is WAY down in the rankings, but has an incredible OCS and seems to do pretty decent with placing grads all over the country despite it's supposed "regional" reputation.

I'm a bit confused... but of course, I'm basing that on the opinion of ONE (maybe two) 2L, so no offense, but I clearly have to consider that fact.

The rhetoric and anecdotal evidence is intriguing, but can you provide some specific data to demonstrate how "worthless" the UIUC OCS really is?

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:46 pm

specialblend35 wrote:Incoming 2L transfer here. I'm in the process of putting together my schedule, and was wondering if anyone had input on who the must-take, rock star professors are at UIUC, and on the other hand which ones to avoid. Thanks in advance!


Welcome to Illinois! Based on my 1l profs I would say definitely take Smith (easily the best prof I've ever had for anything), Tabb and Lash (anyone who didn't like Lash is crazy)

Based on what I've heard from others - Kaplan, Aviram, Leopold, Hamilton, Freyfogle

Who to avoid - PM me for that ; )

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby specialblend35 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:49 pm

blurbz wrote:
specialblend35 wrote:Incoming 2L transfer here. I'm in the process of putting together my schedule, and was wondering if anyone had input on who the must-take, rock star professors are at UIUC, and on the other hand which ones to avoid. Thanks in advance!


School range/gpa? (I'm wondering where our transfer class comes from!)

What markets are you focusing your job search on? Are you coming to my school to steal my jerbs?

I kid, I kid (but seriously, what markets?????).



.....
No, really--
Welcome to Illinois. I liked almost all of my professors this year. I would recommend taking Smith (He's the dean and I don't think he's actually teaching anything this semester..) and Tabb (He's teaching bankruptcy). I also liked Lash, but I know many people who weren't as big of fans of his teaching style. I'm pretty sure he's teaching Conlaw II or III this semester...


If you need anything else, we're all pretty easy going here.


Thanks, I appreciate the heads up.

I'm top 10% from a Chicago T2. I'm focusing exclusively on public interest/government/public defender type work, in either Chicago or D.C. So, I won't be competing with you for any firm jerbz :)

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blurbz
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:52 pm

specialblend35 wrote:Thanks, I appreciate the heads up.

I'm top 10% from a Chicago T2. I'm focusing exclusively on public interest/government/public defender type work, in either Chicago or D.C. So, I won't be competing with you for any firm jerbz :)



Well then I'm happy to give you as much info as I can!

Again, welcome.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:59 pm

oldtimer wrote:
Chupavida wrote:I have a huge rant typed up about OCS, but I'll save it for a more productive setting, like a meeting with a dean.

Suffice it to say that OCS could be replaced by a poorly-organized phonebook, a part time employee who gives generic career/resume advice, and a temp secretary who organizes OCI once a year, and nobody would notice.

An unmanned terminal with the homepage set to TLS would do more good.



Wow, ok, so if it's THAT bad... and everyone knows that the ultimate "goal" of law school is to procure a good job practicing law, then how exactly is UIUC "ranked" so much better than all but 20 of the Law schools in the country? I know one example (Saint Louis U) that is WAY down in the rankings, but has an incredible OCS and seems to do pretty decent with placing grads all over the country despite it's supposed "regional" reputation.

I'm a bit confused... but of course, I'm basing that on the opinion of ONE (maybe two) 2L, so no offense, but I clearly have to consider that fact.

The rhetoric and anecdotal evidence is intriguing, but can you provide some specific data to demonstrate how "worthless" the UIUC OCS really is?


Illinois is an amazing school and I like almost everything else about it. Location, faculty, the dean, admissions, classmates, etc. But the Career Services sucks. The reason it doesn't affect the school's ranking is that most school's Career Services sucks. And also we have a decent amount of employers coming to OCI, and once the employers are signed up there's not much more they can do to keep us from getting jobs. I think the dean realized it sucks and that's why the office got almost a complete overhaul last semester. Hopefully they keep moving in the right direction.

I totally agree with Chupavida that a home page open to TLS is more helpful than our career services. If I get a job out of OCI I am going to owe it almost completely to the sealocust

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:20 pm

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:44 pm

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blurbz
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:52 pm

Chupavida wrote:Concrete examples:

Illinois fails to effectively place 1Ls in its own back yard. You might think a T1 law school in east-central Illinois (read: miles and miles of corn) would have an easy time dominating the externship market in its own city; you would be wrong. Career services and the externship office don't have relationships with any of the various courts, public defender's offices, or state's attorney's offices in the area. They don't even have a useful packet of information to hand out. I have what may be the perfect 1L job, and in 10 years the person who hired me has never received even an email from the school about placements. I found the address myself and did all my own research. Now, if I were running the OCS, I'd know every employer by name, and I would work to build a relationship such that they would expect the lion's share of their externs to come from the building down the road, rather than from random out-of-state schools.

The office is utterly useless if you're looking to get into public interest. Someone I know went in with ambitions of DC PI work and came out with a giant-ass spreadsheet, surely obtained through some inter-school alliance of laziness, that had the name/address of every PI-related organization in DC. It had something like 14,000 entries. If I were running the OCS, I'd provide interested parties with a list of alumni who work in their target market, complete with any information those alumni were willing to provide about what it took to get the job, what they do, what advice they would give job seekers, etc. If I were REALLY awesome, I'd build relationships with those alumni in order to find homes for students directly.

The office provides no information about the firms coming to OCI. Other schools provide the grade ranges of students who received call backs in previous years. They also provide lists of current students working at those firms. Illinois provides nothing. If not for TLS, I'd be going into the process blind. As it is, I still have no idea what kinds of grades/personalities get hired at the various firms.



100% Fact. I also have an excellent 1L gig and, even though the person who hired me is an Illinois grad, they have no true contact with OCS other than posting their job on symplicity. It's amazing how easy it would be to reach out to these people/organizations/etc but so far that just hasn't been done.

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:06 pm

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:12 pm

Chupavida wrote:Concrete examples:

The office provides no information about the firms coming to OCI. Other schools provide the grade ranges of students who received call backs in previous years. They also provide lists of current students working at those firms. Illinois provides nothing. If not for TLS, I'd be going into the process blind. As it is, I still have no idea what kinds of grades/personalities get hired at the various firms.


Yeah this is my main complaint. I want to know exactly how many people were hired at what firms, whether its from OCI or mass mailing or what. (Not by name of course, but just stuff like 1 student at X firm, through resume collect, 2 students at Y firm through OCI). I also want to know what GPAs these students had. It doesn't help anyone if a firm says their cutoff is top 25% but the data shows that they only hire from the top 5%. Other schools have this info and they give it to students. Our Career Services won't even straightforwardly answer questions about it.

The information they do give out is generic and unhelpful (research firms, gee thanks) and sometimes just plain incorrect (wear black suits :shock: ).

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:21 pm

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:09 pm

Chupavida wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:
Chupavida wrote:Concrete examples:

The office provides no information about the firms coming to OCI. Other schools provide the grade ranges of students who received call backs in previous years. They also provide lists of current students working at those firms. Illinois provides nothing. If not for TLS, I'd be going into the process blind. As it is, I still have no idea what kinds of grades/personalities get hired at the various firms.


Yeah this is my main complaint. I want to know exactly how many people were hired at what firms, whether its from OCI or mass mailing or what. (Not by name of course, but just stuff like 1 student at X firm, through resume collect, 2 students at Y firm through OCI). I also want to know what GPAs these students had. It doesn't help anyone if a firm says their cutoff is top 25% but the data shows that they only hire from the top 5%. Other schools have this info and they give it to students. Our Career Services won't even straightforwardly answer questions about it.

The information they do give out is generic and unhelpful (research firms, gee thanks) and sometimes just plain incorrect (wear black suits :shock: ).


I wonder if they just don't want people to realize how dire the hiring situation actually is. They might think maintaining the illusion that top 1/3rd has a shot at biglaw is worth not helping the top 10% who actually do.


I considered that possibility. That's even worse than incompetence.

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby NancyBotwin » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:19 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:The reason it doesn't affect the school's ranking is that most school's Career Services sucks.

Actually, CSO is precisely what affected our ranking this year. Why do you think we dropped 2 spots?

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:22 pm

Yeah I didn't mean not affect at all, I just meant doesn't hurt the school that much. As long as we stay T25 I'm happy :)

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blurbz
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:42 pm

NancyBotwin wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:The reason it doesn't affect the school's ranking is that most school's Career Services sucks.

Actually, CSO is precisely what affected our ranking this year. Why do you think we dropped 2 spots?


I thought it was more because USNWR started counting dual degree students/students who go to grad school after graduating as unemployed?---at least that's what Pless implied in his thread.

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:17 pm

Interesting...

I guess I just assumed that the MAJORITY of my career was in MY hands... so naturally, I kind of expected everything you just complained about to be status quo for the most part. And since nobody who is a "rising 1L" at UIUC actually spent their 1L year anywhere else, it would only be conjecture to assume that any other school's OCS is really any different unless we have some other T25 1L's in this forum who'd like to chime in.


It would certainly be nice if OCS was more "gung ho" and provided all kinds of data and did more "hand holding" when it comes to job placement, but I don't know about you guys, but I pretty much had to find my own job when I got out of undergrad. Sure, we had OCI and I had several job offers as a result, but I knew exactly where I wanted to live and I was able to turn OCI into my personal "quest" to find a corporation who was hiring and had connections to the part of the country in which I wanted to live... and it worked. Though I did happen to be graduating with honors from a top ranked school in the country for that particular degree at the time... so I suppose that had some bearing on the ease with which I secured a good job.


But then again, why does it matter what gpa's get offers from where? It's not like you can change your GPA at that point... and it's not like you're going to work HARDER to get a specific GPA just to get into that specific firm. You're working as hard as you can to get the VERY BEST grades that you can regardless... so you'll know if your grades were good enough based on your "options" I'd imagine...
Just do your best... get the best grades you can and then use the SHOTGUN METHOD and blast your resume/CV whatever, to EVERY FIRM you would be interested in working for and 1/2 of the ones you don't really want to work for but would and I suppose, hope for the best... (probably similar to how you approached your Law School apps, you had your first choices, your REACHES, your backups... and your WAY backups)

Based on your comments, though, it SOUNDS like UIUC has a long way to go in that area, but again, none of us really know how the other schools truly compare... SURE, we know how they say they work, but we also know how UIUC OCS "says" they work, so it could be a lot of the same no matter where you go, but we just don't know.

Sounds like both of you did "Ok" despite the poor OCS, but do either of you know ANYONE who put in the time and effort to self-promote and actually had decent grades who did NOT find a 1L internship/externship that they were happy with?

You're making me second guess my choice...

Ok, not really. Though I know my #2 choice DOES have an Excellent OCS and I've met and spent time with them, but I also know that they really tend to focus on one market too, so again, not much different that U of I.

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:23 pm

Chupavida wrote:Lest all this negativity drive anyone away, I loved my 1L year. The professors, students, facilities, and setting are all great. As long as your dream job is realistic given your grades and the fact that Illinois is not Harvard, a mediocre career services office won't keep you from landing it; you'll just have to do all, and I do mean all, your own legwork.



Aw..., come on.. I was hoping for a few years at Jones Day, then on to supreme court justice and then "retire" as a Civ. Pro. Prof. at Harvard!

So you're saying that's not likely? :wink:

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Chupavida
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:30 pm

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:42 pm

Chupavida wrote:
oldtimer wrote:
Chupavida wrote:Lest all this negativity drive anyone away, I loved my 1L year. The professors, students, facilities, and setting are all great. As long as your dream job is realistic given your grades and the fact that Illinois is not Harvard, a mediocre career services office won't keep you from landing it; you'll just have to do all, and I do mean all, your own legwork.



Aw..., come on.. I was hoping for a few years at Jones Day, then on to supreme court justice and then "retire" as a Civ. Pro. Prof. at Harvard!

So you're saying that's not likely? :wink:

Jones Day is not a reach from Illinois. Supreme Court Justice however...



Yeah, I know... I was GOING to say... I want to do all of those things from the bottom 1/4 of the class... :P

Just forgot to add that little tidbit...

I sure HOPE Jones Day isn't a reach... I'm banking on that $160k+ salary to cover all of the massive debt from attending a "public ivy league" school like Illinois! I have cheaper options, but they're not nearly as "prestigious." :wink:

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Chupavida
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:02 pm

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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:41 pm

Chupavida wrote:
oldtimer wrote:Interesting...

I guess I just assumed that the MAJORITY of my career was in MY hands... so naturally, I kind of expected everything you just complained about to be status quo for the most part. And since nobody who is a "rising 1L" at UIUC actually spent their 1L year anywhere else, it would only be conjecture to assume that any other school's OCS is really any different unless we have some other T25 1L's in this forum who'd like to chime in.


It would certainly be nice if OCS was more "gung ho" and provided all kinds of data and did more "hand holding" when it comes to job placement, but I don't know about you guys, but I pretty much had to find my own job when I got out of undergrad. Sure, we had OCI and I had several job offers as a result, but I knew exactly where I wanted to live and I was able to turn OCI into my personal "quest" to find a corporation who was hiring and had connections to the part of the country in which I wanted to live... and it worked. Though I did happen to be graduating with honors from a top ranked school in the country for that particular degree at the time... so I suppose that had some bearing on the ease with which I secured a good job.


But then again, why does it matter what gpa's get offers from where? It's not like you can change your GPA at that point... and it's not like you're going to work HARDER to get a specific GPA just to get into that specific firm. You're working as hard as you can to get the VERY BEST grades that you can regardless... so you'll know if your grades were good enough based on your "options" I'd imagine...
Just do your best... get the best grades you can and then use the SHOTGUN METHOD and blast your resume/CV whatever, to EVERY FIRM you would be interested in working for and 1/2 of the ones you don't really want to work for but would and I suppose, hope for the best... (probably similar to how you approached your Law School apps, you had your first choices, your REACHES, your backups... and your WAY backups)

Based on your comments, though, it SOUNDS like UIUC has a long way to go in that area, but again, none of us really know how the other schools truly compare... SURE, we know how they say they work, but we also know how UIUC OCS "says" they work, so it could be a lot of the same no matter where you go, but we just don't know.

Sounds like both of you did "Ok" despite the poor OCS, but do either of you know ANYONE who put in the time and effort to self-promote and actually had decent grades who did NOT find a 1L internship/externship that they were happy with?

You're making me second guess my choice...

Ok, not really. Though I know my #2 choice DOES have an Excellent OCS and I've met and spent time with them, but I also know that they really tend to focus on one market too, so again, not much different that U of I.


I guess when you're paying six figures in tuition at a professional school, the expectation is that the career services office, with multiple fulltime, presumably well-compensated employees, would be more than a non-factor for the small class of students it is supposed to serve. The fact that Illinois isn't in downtown LA or Manhattan only makes their job that much more important. They are uniquely positioned to have access to incredibly valuable information, and even beyond the information, to build relationships with employers who may otherwise choose people from the school down the road. I don't care if other "T-25" schools are equally bad. There are schools in the country that have career services offices that do the things I mention above, where a student can walk in and get information that is more valuable than the collected wisdom of random people on the internet. The fact that I'm referring to Columbia or Chicago is irrelevant.

Let me put it to you this way: Every hour I spend doing research that the CSO should have already done and provided to me on a silver platter was an hour that I didn't spend studying, or with my kids, or reading a novel, or doing any number of things I don't have time to do anymore. Of course I did the research, and of course I'm going to be "ok." I'm going to get a job out of OCI, an enterprise that really has nothing to do with the school. I'm going to shoot for a clerkship, something the career services office seems to be utterly incapable of helping students with. And then I'm going to leave, taking my research, insights, and networking potential with me, leaving the next class to reinvent the wheel all over again.



OR, you could do something to change the way it is now. Sounds like you have enough energy to do something productive with..
Of course then THAT would be time away from your studies, kids, books, etc.

I'm not disagreeing with you that we should be able to expect at least good work from a well-compensated OCS, but I AM disagreeing with the notion that it is THEIR job to get US jobs...(and I know you never said that, but the "notion" is seemingly implied by some in this conversation)

But I don't think asking them to collect and maintain that data when available and making and fostering connections and relationships with hiring managers of firms in places OTHER than Chicago is asking too much for our tuition.
I think you're right there for sure.

I still believe that ultimately, our careers are in our own hands... and clearly YOU do too... because you took matters into your own hands and made things happen. THAT, my friend is what makes a good lawyer and THAT is probably why the School has a great reputation. The "Good" ones know what it takes to get the job... and get the job DONE... and they DO IT. But I don't argue that it would be nice if OCS did THEIR jobs and made our job search easier.

Some of us have more "work-life balance" issues than others... Those of us with spouses and children do have more important things to do than someone ELSE's job, but at the same time, when it is my family's future at stake, you can bet your sweet ass I'm gonna work mine off to make the most contacts and get the best offers possible so maybe, just maybe I can afford to send my kids to a place like U of I some day... or perhaps better!

oh, and BTW... as you know, 6 figures at a Professional school isn't exceptional by any stretch anymore. In fact, it's the norm, so again, while we should be able to expect some hard work from those folks, we shouldn't be surprised when they're no better than "average" at what they do because we're paying about "average" tuition for law school at this point. Sure, there are the outliers, but most schools, even many of the TTT's are in the same neighborhood as UIUC's in state tuition these days and I can't imagine that we're that much worse in terms of OCS than the rest of the bunch... Chicago and Columbia??? Maybe, but should we be surprised about that, really?


The difference in our perspectives explains the difference in our positions, though. I'm looking at it as a potential 1L at UIUC... you, as someone who's already pretty much "stuck" there (not that being stuck in a T25 law school could EVER be a bad thing IMO.)

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Chupavida
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:56 pm

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blurbz
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:59 pm

oldtimer wrote: I AM disagreeing with the notion that it is THEIR job to get US jobs...



The person who had the job before the current director of OCS made six figures. The new hires in OCS (whose salaries are not yet posted) were all poached from biglaw--I feel safe saying most of them are also making six figures. What should they be doing? Their ONLY job is to work to put Illinois students in a position to find jobs: They work in career services, that is literally their only job. I'm not saying that they need to do interviews for us or that they need to find every individual student a job that is tailored specifically to that student's wants. What I think we're arguing is that with a staff of four people who are all likely making six figure salaries and whose job titles all contain variants of "career services," the office ought to be able and willing to collect useful statistics and reach out to potential employers on a regular basis.

oldtimer wrote: OR, you could do something to change the way it is now. Sounds like you have enough energy to do something productive with..


The school is pumping, at minimum, 400k into OCS every year. If they want to pay me six figures to work there, I'll do it. (Two birds, one stone, I suppose.) If I'm not being paid six figures, like those in OCS, the time I don't spend doing the research that other school's OCSs do for their students, I'm going to spend making sure my grades stay high.
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Re: Illinois Law 1L Taking Questions

Postby Chupavida » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:07 am

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